Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Been How Long?

What I'm reading: Infamous, by Suzanne Brockmann

Yesterday, when I started on my usual blog rounds, I noticed that Elizabeth Spann Craig, a frequent visitor here, mentioned that she'd been blogging since May of 2009 and was taking a 'blogcation' for about a week.

That got me thinking ... how long has this blog been around? I went to the archives and discovered I've been here at Terry's Place since July 10, 2006. Over the years, things have changed. I've learned more about the business. I've learned more about blogging. And I've watched the user interface with Blogger change as well.

I thought it would be fun to re-post my initial blog here, and you can see how things have changed. (The following has not been edited.)

"On Starting to Write" first posted July 10, 2006

Get a blog. Everyone's got a blog. OK, so I now have a blog, too, although I'm not feeling any more "in" than I did before I started this.

What started me writing -- the short answer: I ran out of wall space for needlepoint and needed a creative outlet.

The longer answer:

Not all THAT many years ago, my son was visiting, and as he flipped through the channels, he stopped at "Highlander: The Series" and told me it was a cool show. Being a nice Mom, always looking for common ground, I watched it -- and when the star turned out to be drop-dead gorgeous, I kept watching.

From there, I discovered Internet groups (back then, it was almost all CompuServe) and had some fun discussing the 'what ifs' with others. That led me to FanFiction, which led me to Sandra McDonald, who got me started in beta reading.

One weekend while I was home alone, I decided to see if I could write a story that had been playing in my 'what if' world for a long time, and so I did. I sent it to Sandra, who gently pointed out just a few of its flaws. I had a new challenge, and I worked on it, and posted it on a fanfic site, and people said they liked it. Had I known then how easy it was to please those folks, I might not have felt so good. But, I kept writing, until one day I wondered if I could write my own characters instead of borrowing them from someone else.

I found another writing group, this one at iVillage, and they also were free with their praise. Nine months later, I finished a novel. Then I did what Sandra told me to do first -- I read Self Editing for Fiction Writers, by Browne & King. I cringed at my mistakes, but went back and rewrote.

By chance, I spoke with my son, and asked him a question about a Highlander episode. He said, "Oh, I've never WATCHED it, I just thought it was a cool concept."

So, here I am, still writing. I have two short stories published by Wild Rose Press, and a contract offer on that first book from Cerridwen Press.

So--that was me in 2006. I'm please to say my writing credits have expanded somewhat since then. See them all here. And don't forget--tomorrow is Field Trip Friday. We're going to Vancouver Island.


Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

LOL Have you thanked your son properly for your new career?
You've grown even more wonderful over time.

Terry Odell said...

Mary, usually what I say is, "look what you started." Thanks.

Bob Sanchez said...

What an entertaining first post. And the Browne & King book is one of the best on the topic, which reminds me that I loaned my copy and never got it back.

Terry Odell said...

Bob, I totally agree with you on Browne & King. A real eye-opener. That book has been on the 'top 10 list' of every author's craft workshop I've taken.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's an awesome story! I can't even count the number of things I've picked up over the years looking for common ground between me & my kids and me and my students too. It helps to be interested in almost everything :)

Terry Odell said...

Jemi, when my daughter got engaged, I knew I wouldn't be able to discuss his work (he was a nuclear physics PhD student), but I started reading Larry Niven, so we could have something to talk about

Jud said...

Maintaining a steady flow of original and interesting posts for over four years is an achievement. Congratulations!

CompuServe, in its dialup heyday, was a little too expensive for me so I signed up with GEnie. I still have an archive of some of the best GEnie posts, and compendia of CompuServe messages and files are still circulating on the Web. I know I'm an old fogey, but I think the text-based technology of those days was more conducive to in-depth information exchange.

Didn't know about "Self-editing for Fiction Writers" and have place an order. Thanks for the tip!

Terry Odell said...

Jud, thanks - And yes, sometimes I think folks use these new bells & whistles just because they "can" not because they improve anything. I'm old-school too. I want information, not visual entertainment when I'm searching for something.

Glad I could point you to Self Editing--it's a great book, with lots of concrete examples (and everyone here knows I like those!)